Hall of Fame 2007

Hall of Fame Class of 2007

HoF2007-143

 

 

Robert “Bob” Babb, Sr.
Driver/Owner

Bob Babb first climbed into a race car in 1956 at the age of 19, racing on the dirt half-mile of Oxford Plains Speedway and Beech Ridge Speedway’s one-third-mile clay oval.

It didn’t take Bob long to find his way to victory lane. Driving the famed blue and red “Diamond 4” coupe in the Class B Bomber division, Bob won feature races on a regular basis. Whether it be at Beech Ridge, his home track, or at Oxford Plains, fans would see the “Diamond 4” racing up front.

When the coupes were replaced by Late Models, Bob continued winning races and when asphalt replaced the dirt racing surface, the “racing logger” could still be found in the winner’s circle.

During his thirty-plus year driving career, Bob won two track championships at Beech Ridge and over 80 feature races at the Ridge, Oxford Plains and Arundel Speedway. While he hung up his racing helmet almost two decades ago, Bob continues to be heavily involved in racing as he has won five more owner championships in cars driven by son Bobby Jr.

Bob was also an innovator. Due to limited use of his left arm from polio as a child, Bob was one of the first to install power steering on a race car.

Bob is a member of the Beech Ridge Speedway Hall of Fame and the ninth recipient of the memorial blazer.

Niles “Gas” Gage, Jr.
Driver

Niles ‘Gas’ Gage was one of the more popular drivers at Oxford Plains Speedway in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Whether it be behind the wheel of a Ford or a Chrysler, Niles’ steady driving style would find him near the front at the end of the feature race.

Niles won back-to-back Sportsman track championships at Oxford Plains in 1968 and 1969. He not only won races at his home track but Niles visited victory lane at Unity Raceway, Speedway 95 in Bangor and in Connecticut.

When the NASCAR Grand National Division (now the NASCAR Cup Series) visited Oxford Plains in 1969, Niles drove a borrowed car to a 13th place finish in the 300-lap event. The following February, Niles drove a car owned by Bob and Dick Bahre at Daytona International Speedway.

Niles’ successful racing career was cut short by heart disease but even then, he made history. Following three heart attacks in 1970, Niles had the first open heart surgery of its kind televised live on public television in 1972.

Niles ‘Gas’ Gage Jr. passed away in January 2001.

Howard “Fuzzy” Holden
Driver

Howard ‘Fuzzy’ Holden retired from racing stock cars at the young age of 35 after a fifteen-year driving career that began in 1957. But, Fuzzy crammed more racing in those fifteen years than most any two drivers of his time.

Fuzzy enjoyed the challenge – the challenge of competing against the best drivers. Whether it be at Unity Raceway, Speedway 95, Oxford Plains Speedway or at the other Maine tracks or at The Pines and Norwood Arena in Massachusetts, it was the challenge that fueled Fuzzy’s racing career.

And, it was that challenge that made Fuzzy do the near impossible. During the 1964 and 1965 racing seasons, Fuzzy made the trek from his Skowhegan home to Norwood Arena every Saturday and return home to race at Unity on Sunday afternoon. A round trip of 500 miles each weekend. The long rides were rewarded at the end of the 1964 season when he was named ‘Most Improved Driver’ at Norwood.

It was 1969 when Fuzzy had the dream season every driver wishes for. He won 15 of 22 races at Unity, and the track championship, and every 50-lap or longer race at both Unity and Speedway 95.

Fuzzy Holden was honored in 1970 as the first member of the Unity Raceway Hall of Fame.

Earl “Parnelli” Jones
Driver

Earl ‘Parnelli’ Jones began his racing career in 1964 – the same year Oxford Plains Speedway re-opened and introduced full-body Sportsman cars to Maine racing fans.

A 20-year driving career began when he filled in for Billy Clark for the 1964 Triple Crown Series – where he finished in the top 3 in all three races – and ended when he helped NASCAR star Bill Elliott get around Oxford Plains in 1984.

In between, Earl competed on all of Maine’s race tracks – Beech Ridge Speedway, Unity Raceway, Wiscasset Speedway and Speedway 95 in addition to Oxford Plains. His racing wasn’t limited to his home state as he made several trips to Nova Scotia where he won a major race in Halifax in 1976.

But, Earl faced his greatest challenge not only as a race driver but in life took place in 1967 when he lost the sight in his right eye. He returned to racing the next year with a new blue and gold Ford and continued his winning ways.

During his career, Earl won over 20 Sportsman races – fifteen of those at Oxford – and three Figure Eight events, also at his home track. He was famous for his blue and gold #19 Fords but he also drove Dodges for Dave Coffin in the early 1980’s.

Stan Meserve
Driver/Official/Builder

Stan Meserve’s forty-plus year involvement in racing has taken him from Unity Raceway to the high-banks of Daytona International Speedway back to the short tracks of Maine, New England and Canada and a return trip to NASCAR’s premier series – Nextel Cup.

A racing career that began in 1965 at Unity, found Stan running the full NASCAR Grand National Division schedule in 1968 in an under-funded 1967 Dodge Charger. Stan entered 31 of the 49 races and placed 26th in the final Grand National Division point standings.

Stan founded Distance Racing Products in 1983, fabricating race cars and selling parts to drivers all over the northeast. He retired from driving shortly thereafter to become the Technical Director for the ACT Tour. Ten years later, Stan returned to driving full-time, finally retiring as a full-time driver in 1998.

He is the only driver to win championships at four different Maine tracks – Unity, Speedway 95, Wiscasset Speedway and Oxford Plains Speedway. As to the number of race wins, Stan isn’t sure. “It’s a lot!”

Stan is back “down south” – working at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and on occasion will strap on the racing helmet and compete in a Pro Stock race either here in Maine or at southern short track.

Calvin Reynolds
Driver/Motorcycle-Snowmobile Racer/Flagman/Track Owner

Calvin Reynolds has been involved in racing at a variety of levels – as a stock car driver and owner, as a flagman, as a track owner and back as a race driver. Calvin has even raced motorcycles and snowmobiles.

But, it is his accomplishments at Beech Ridge Speedway where he is most known, excluding his success in the business world selling motorcycles and snowmobiles.

Calvin’s stock car racing career began in 1960 in the Class B Bomber division at Beech Ridge. He won back-to-back Bomber track championships in 1969 and 1970.

Three years later, Calvin shocked the Maine racing community when he purchased Beech Ridge from founder Jim McConnell. In 1981, eight years after purchasing the track, Calvin sold the speedway to Ralph Cusack.

Calvin dusted off the racing helmet and returned to racing, driving in the speedway’s Late Model division. In 1983, Calvin finally retired from the driver’s seat to watch son Steve race and to concentrate on his growing motorcycle and snowmobile dealership business.

Calvin is a member of the Beech Ridge Hall of Fame and recipient of the Memorial Blazer.

 

 

Maine Driver of the Year

Dan McKeage
2007 FINALISTS
Travis Adams
Bub Bilodeau
Dan McKeage
PRESIDENT’S AWARD
Rita Darveau
ALLEN BRANN PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD
Peter Taylor